Mandy!

We have all seen the super cute side tie tops and dresses on Pinterest. Well, Sonia Estep Designs has given us her take on the look…but better! The newest SED pattern is Mandy and I am thrilled that I got to test it. This pattern has tie or no tie options, dress or shirt length and short or long sleeves! The options are endless with this one.

My first version was a no tie, short sleeve, shirt length in a black/white polka dot single brushed poly from So Sew English Fabrics https://sosewenglishfabrics.com/ . I love the fit of this top, however I may go back and add a waistband to it. I have an average 8″ sidewaist that patterns are drafted for but I am 5’7″ so sometimes I have to add a little length to the bottom…usually I don’t know if I need to until I make the first one! This is one that I think I would be more comfortable with an extra inch at the hip, but it is super cute so I’m definitely not going to let it sit in my closet unworn!

Now, I don’t know if you can see it or not but this pattern has a seam down the back. What is the benefit of this? #1 is you don’t have to cut the back on the fold which makes it easier to save fabric! I was able to get this one from less than a yard! #2 and the most important is that it gives you a beautiful fit and a little extra shape at the waist!

For my second one I made long sleeve, dress length with the tie in a brushed hacci sweater knit from Surge Fabric Shop https://surgefabricshop.com/. I cannot even begin to tell you how soft and cozy this sweater knit is…you are going to just have to trust me!!! I will say that a sweater dress with leggings and boots in August will make you sweaty while you are trying to get somewhat decent photos! And can we just talk about that adorable knot!

Now to tell you the best part about this pattern…it is such a quick sew! I made the basic polka dot one in under an hour, cut to finish, and the dress only took me just a hair over an hour!!! I love patterns that look so fancy and complicated but really are just as simple as a basic tee! This is a pattern that I highly recommend…actually I love all SED patterns! The tutorials are so easy to follow and the fit is always spot on!

*If you would like to purchase this pattern or any others (they are all fabulous), I would greatly appreciate your support! My affiliate link doesn’t cost you anything extra but it does give me a little incentive to keep sewing! #affiliate https://soniaestepdesigns.com/?aff=109

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Let’s talk Zippers!

Do you ever get overwhelmed by zippers and what type goes with which project? I know when I first started sewing I didn’t realize that there are different zippers that should be used for different projects. There are way more types than I have time to talk about, so I will just stick to what I know…bags!!!

Metal teeth, nylon, separating, #3, #5, pulls, tape…what does it all mean? It all gets really confusing but I am here to share the info that I have gathered over the years!!!

Metal zippers are my least favorite to use because you can’t just sew over the teeth and you can’t just cut it to length. Way too much work in my opinion! LOL If you do use one, go slowly right up to the zipper teeth then hand crank a couple stitches over, being very careful to not hit the teeth. You can also pull a couple teeth off to get it to the length you need.

Before I found Facebook sewing groups, I thought the only zippers were the premade ones that you buy at your local craft store. These are fine in a pinch but they are a little pricey. There are several reputable online stores that you can purchase in bulk for a way more reasonable price. This is the way to go if you need inexpensive. You can buy these in different size teeth but standard is #3 and they come in several length options. They come with the top and bottom stops but since they are nylon, you can cut to length and sew over them!

I started seeing all of the beautiful zippers with fancy pulls but I was terrified to try zipper tape. I didn’t know which zipper to use where and it was all just really overwhelming. I decided to dive in and now I will not ever go back to the premade zippers! They come in two different sizes, #3 and #5 (this refers to the teeth size). Size #3 is perfect for small bags like zipper pouches, wristlets, cosmetic bags, etc and also for pockets on the inside of bigger bags. Size #5 are the more substantial zippers that you see as the main zippers on bags and purses. The tape is amazing because you can buy it in yardage and cut it to the length you need. Both sizes have pulls that fit only that size.

But how do you get the pull onto the tape? It looks scary and difficult, but trust me when I tell you that it is so easy to do!!!

Cut your zipper to just a little longer than the length you need. Open one end a little bit and trim one side of the tape down. Place one side of your pull onto the taller side of your tape. Tip: You can quickly run a lighter over the edge of the tape to keep it from fraying while you are putting the pull on. Slide your pull down to meet the shorter side and insert that side of the tape into the pull. Slide it down and your zipper is assembled!!! See…easy, peasy!

Here are some more beautiful zippers I have installed!

Thank you for being here and I hope this has been helpful information! If you ever have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask here or email me! Happy sewing!

What is a muslin and do I really need to make one?

This is my muslin of the Summit Peak hoodie from New Horizons Designs. This link contains my affiliate link https://newhorizonsdesigns.com/product/summit-peak-hoodie-for-women/?affiliates=ddb30680a691d157187ee1cf9e896d03

A muslin is a practice garment and you should always make one when you are trying out a new pattern. It not only helps you get the fit right but also lets you know if your fabric type works. No one wants to waste the “good fabric” on a garment that is not wearable. But if you are like me, you hate the idea of wasting time if it actually works out…I want to be able to wear everything I make! What to do, what to do? Do we just skip the practice one and go straight to the good stuff? NO!!! Just don’t do it!

So, what do we do instead? I always make a muslin with new patterns but I try to make a wearable muslin. It may not be perfect but I like to know that I still have a high quality item that I can at least sleep in or wear around the house. If they turn out really bad, I have been known to cut them down to make socks, underwear and tank tops! See…it’s not a total waste!

Muslin fabric should be inexpensive fabric, so that you don’t mind if it doesn’t work out, but also should be similar in weight and content to what your final product will be. When I first started, I bought the cheapest fabric I could find…the problem with that is it’s not high quality fabric. Cheap fabric will typically shrink, fade, or is not very soft…I really like soft, cozy fabrics!!! If you don’t like the feel, you will never wear it and definitely don’t want to make underwear out of it!

What am I supposed to do then??? Find a fabric source that you love!!! Most fabric shops will offer sales that allow you to get fabric for a great price, but that still may not be cheap enough for muslins. Be patient…all the great shops will offer mystery bundles! You may not love every single fabric, but you will know that the quality is there. Most of the time mystery bundles end up working out to less than $5 a yard!!!

I have a couple shops that I purchase mystery bundles from but my favorite is So Sew English Fabrics! https://sosewenglishfabrics.com/ Sometimes they will be themed boxes and sometimes they will be a total mystery. I stock up whenever I can because it’s great to have inexpensive fabric on hand for muslins and pattern tests! Here are a few SSE mystery bundles I have grabbed and I have not regretted a single one! The first one is the only one I remember the price since it’s the newest, but I know that all of them ended up figuring out to less than $4 a yard!!!

*I just looked and So Sew English happens to have mystery bundles available right now…but hurry because they don’t last long! The good news, though, is that they restock them quite often!!! https://sosewenglishfabrics.com/search?type=product&q=mystery*

If there is anything you ever want me to talk about, comment here or send me a message! Happy Sewing!

Let’s sew a car trash bag together!

These adorable little car trash bags are the biggest seller in my shop! I mean, who doesn’t need a beautiful bag to fill with trash! LOL They are lined with vinyl for quick wipe downs, but if they get too gross you can throw them in the washing machine on cold and hang to dry!!! Moms really love these! I have even been told that in a pickle, they can contain vomit from a carsick kid! But please try to avoid that if at all possible.

This is my own pattern, I spent hours and lots of trial and error to get the size that I liked. I am happy to share this pattern with you and don’t even mind if you sell what you have made, but I do ask that you give me credit whenever possible. Link back to this blog when it is allowed, ask people to follow here and if you want to share the pattern with friends…please don’t just give them the pattern, have them come here to check out my blog. I am always happy to share and will likely share more of my patterns soon, but I am just starting here and would appreciate the followers.

Now, let’s sew!

~Materials/Supplies list:

  • 10″ x 11″-2 pcs (front and back) plus interfacing for both
  • 4″x 17″- 1 pc for strap plus interfacing
  • 4″x 2.5″- 1 pc for d ring tab-no interfacing
  • 20″ x 11″- 1 pc lining fabric
  • 20″x 11″- vinyl fuse
  • 1″ swivel clip and d ring
  • marking pen or chalk
  • ruler

1/4″ Seam allowance

Cut all of your fabric, interfacing and vinyl fuse

Fuse your interfacing to each outside piece and the vinyl fuse to the lining piece, according to product instructions.

To make the d ring tab, start by folding it in half and making a crease. Open it back up and press both sides into the center crease. Then fold the entire thing in half. Topstitch, add your d ring and set aside.

For the strap, we start by folding one end over about 1/2″. After you do that, just follow the steps from the d ring tab!

Topstitch and attach your swivel hook…make sure you backstitch a couple times when you are sewing in the hook.

Lay your front and back pieces right sides together and clip in place.

Now you will take your lining piece and fold it in half right sides together, put a couple clips on the fold side to hold it from shifting.

You want to trim the outside and inside pieces so they are the exact same size, otherwise they will not go together and you will end up with puckers. Keep in mind that your outside will be 1/4″ bigger because it will have the seam allowance on the left side and the lining is folded. I like to lay the outside piece on top of the lining, but pull it over to the left 1/4″, then trim the right side so that they match up. I hope this makes sense…it’s easier to do than to explain!

Sew with 1/4″ seam allowance around 3 sides of the outside pieces and just the right side and bottom of the lining.

I guess I forgot to take a picture sewing the lining, but you get the idea! LOL

For the boxed corners, you are going to reach inside and push the corners out to make a triangle. Do this for all 4 corners. Tip: When you are doing the lining piece on the fold side, I like to draw a line right on the fold and snip up to the stitches (that is now your make believe seam)

Take your ruler and mark a 4″ line. Tip: a square quilting ruler makes life so much easier!!! Just place the 2″ line right on top of your seam. Then you will stitch over the line you just marked (remember to backstitch). Trim corners to 1/4″.

You will turn your outside piece so that it is right side out, but leave your lining piece inside out.

This is the part where I remove the accessory tray from my machine so that I can slide the bag around the arm of my machine and sew in a circle!

Fold your outside piece in half to find the center of the back and mark. Measure 1.5″ to each side of your center mark. Place your strap to one side and the d ring tab to the other, so that there is 3″ between them. Baste in place.

Place your outside piece inside of your lining piece, so that they are right sides together. Leaving an opening at the front, stitch around the top with 1/4″ seam allowance…make sure to backstitch at the start and stop or you will be mad at yourself!

Now it’s time to birth this cutie!!! Carefully reach inside the trash bag and pull it through. Tuck the lining down inside the outside. Close your opening and topstitch all the way around.

Now you have the cutest little car trash bag!!!

Thank you so much for sewing with me!